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Amazon Customer "Nonprofit Consultant & NPQ contributor" RSS Feed (Sioux Falls, SD United States)

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4 Pack Zeiss Lens Cleaner Spray 8 Oz Bottles for Glasses Camera Laptops Cellphones (32oz) + 4 Microfiber Cleaning Cloths (4)
4 Pack Zeiss Lens Cleaner Spray 8 Oz Bottles for Glasses Camera Laptops Cellphones (32oz) + 4 Microfiber Cleaning Cloths (4)
Offered by Bha-ri
Price: $16.16
5 used & new from $16.16

4.0 out of 5 stars Watch for leaking spray nozzles in shipment, March 14, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Great product, but watch the bottles - especially the spray nozzles. One of the four bottles I received was leaking from the spray nozzle area. It lost about 1-2 oz. of fluid, soaking some of the microfiber cloths packaged with it.

Bosch B26FT70SNS800 25.9 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel French Door Refrigerator - Energy Star
Bosch B26FT70SNS800 25.9 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel French Door Refrigerator - Energy Star
Price: $1,819.93

3.0 out of 5 stars It's OK, but watch for the repairs and repair bills, January 29, 2016
My experience with Bosch appliances generally is that they're OK, but not exceptional. The ice maker in the fridge has been one of my key trouble areas. It's difficult to know when the ice maker tray is properly seated in the ice maker. Muscling in the tray can result in breaking the plastic clips that hold the tray to the ice maker. Also, the "flapper" between the ice maker and the door on my unit stuck in the open position due to a bad solenoid. This warms the fridge and helps melt ice near the front of the ice maker tray.

Mr. Appliance told me that the ice maker tray and flapper repairs would total almost $500. Ouch!

Replacing the water filter requires a little elbow grease (like that that can break the ice maker tray!). Knowing that shutting off the water supply to the fridge reduces the water pressure on the filter helps, too.

AC Adapter/Power Supply&Cord for Toshiba ADP-75SB BB PA3432u-1ACA PA3432u-1Ac3 adp-75sb pa-1750-01 pa-1750-09 pa3380u pa3468 psag8u-02e018
AC Adapter/Power Supply&Cord for Toshiba ADP-75SB BB PA3432u-1ACA PA3432u-1Ac3 adp-75sb pa-1750-01 pa-1750-09 pa3380u pa3468 psag8u-02e018
Offered by GoPLUS
Price: $8.65
4 used & new from $3.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Very economical and functional, May 24, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
A replacement unit from Samsung costs at least $50 plus s&h. This works great and costs far less. I was tempted to order another just to have a spare - I'd still be saving money and keeping my laptop charged.

Viewsonic VG2236WM-LED 22-Inch (21.5-Inch Vis) Ergonomic LED Backlit Monitor with 1920x1080 Resolution - Black
Viewsonic VG2236WM-LED 22-Inch (21.5-Inch Vis) Ergonomic LED Backlit Monitor with 1920x1080 Resolution - Black

3.0 out of 5 stars Wish I could have seen the options, May 24, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I needed to replace my old Gateway pivot monitor on short notice. There were no options available in the retail stores in my area. The ViewSonic looked like it would fit the bill, so I ordered it.

Installation went fine. I was relieved to find no tempermental issues with the software control for the monitor.

Two disappointments. First, the monitor does not change aspect ratio (landscape/portrait) dynamically by rotating the physical monitor screen. Second, and more importantly, the screen appearance (brightness, contrast) changes radically depending on subtle changes in viewing angle( in my case, left/right in portrait mode). I suspect a different monitor would have a screen with more consistent screen appearance. I think the screen is optimized, but there is no included software I can find that explicitly guides one through tuning the monitor in any detail.

Why Are We Bad at Picking Good Leaders A Better Way to Evaluate Leadership Potential
Why Are We Bad at Picking Good Leaders A Better Way to Evaluate Leadership Potential
by Jay Moran
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.21
68 used & new from $3.05

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One component of inquiry; not the last word, June 30, 2011
This book is the result of years of consulting practice and interviews with over 100 corporate CEOs and other leaders designed to find a better way to identify and select corporate leaders. There is little disagreement with the premise of the book as stated in its title, so there is no question that research and discussion in this area is needed.

The authors identify seven characteristics to assess when recruiting and selecting leaders: integrity, empathy, emotional intelligence, vision, judgement, courage, and passion. To those who feel other qualities or expressions should be on the list, the book's Appendix A includes a list and short descriptions of "Commonly Used (and Misused) Leadership Terms". The book's narrative also addresses some examples of terms which are similar to, but not as precise as the terms the authors prefer.

The first seven chapters are each dedicated to one of the characteristics, with illustrations, case studies, and a section on how to evaluate presence of the characteristic in a leader.

The final chapter of the book is dedicated to outlining the process to follow when recruiting leaders. The outline may prove disappointing, for two reasons. First, the outline does not include the detailed information necessary to illustrate the steps. Second, two of the steps potentially or actually involve retaining outside consultants to perform the work: vetting of executive resumes according to standard criteria and the interview process designed to evaluate the top candidates using the seven criteria.

I heartily endorse the authors first step in the hiring process - determining what kind of leader you want. Both leaders and leadership opportunities present themselves in many shades and flavors. The hiring authorities (e.g., board of directors, CEO, etc.) need to candidly answer questions. What leadership qualities does our corporate culture embrace? Given our current and likely future table of organization, what talents and qualities do we need to compliment what already exists in our organization? Are we too quick to look for a copy of the last leader we loved? Are we too quick to look for the polar opposite of the last leader who failed?

Finally, the authors address the importance of executive coaching to help leaders improve their performance in characteristics where they may need help. Unfortunately, their illustration of the benefits of this practice was not as strong as it might have been. Also, I would have loved it if they would have mentioned Buckingham's work on talent maximization and contrasted it with their own more traditional approach to coaching.

I recommend the book as one component of designing your approach to hiring leaders. In conjunction with other books like "Who", "First, Discover Your Strengths", and "The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive", "Why Are Bad at Picking Good Leaders" will help you determine the best leadership development course for your organization.

Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable, Word of Mouth Movements
Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable, Word of Mouth Movements
by Spike Jones
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.09
88 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Liked it a lot, with reservations, April 19, 2011
The leaders of the advertising firm "Brains on Fire" have done an excellent job of describing the nature and benefits of a "movement" surrounding a product, service, or issue. They are precisely correct in cautioning companies and organizations to avoid both artifice and control when dealing with movements and fans. They are also correct, and should be loudly praised, for emphasizing that 90% of social networking, even in the 21st century, still happens offline. Technology is a tool, a methodology, but not a substitute for personal communication.

My quibbles? First, "Brains on Fire" does little or nothing to acknowledge there are movements that pre-date their firm and movements in which their firm had no professional involvement. Had they addressed others' movements, both past and present, their step-by-step formula would have even stronger credibility.

Second, I would have liked to see some brief treatment of the issue of intellectual property and branding. When I was a volunteer in a corporate movement in the 1990s, the experience was very positive and encompassed most of the points made by the authors. However, as a lawyer's son, I was not surprised by, and I understood the concerns of, the corporate attorneys who worried about logo usage and branding of/by the volunteers. I can't believe that the Fortune 500 companies that "Brains on Fire" worked with just breezed past these legitimate legal and HR risk management issues. For the formula to be successful, these issues have to be addressed competently; knowing how to do this is a key part of "selling" movement support to corporate leadership.

The book's message is good and it's passionate. It would have been even better had it also been a little less self-referential ("Brains on Fire" and its clients) in its treatment of a powerful topic.

Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty
Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty
by Patrick M. Lencioni
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.74
228 used & new from $1.48

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lencioni Turns His Eye to His Own Profession, March 1, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have enjoyed all of Patrick Lencioni's books. My firm uses some of his materials in our consulting practice. I couldn't wait to get this book, and I wasn't disappointed.

The "fable" centers on a consultant with a mid-sized business consulting firm being tasked with investigating how to integrate a small "boutique" consulting firm they just acquired. The consultant hangs out with the boutique firm's personnel and clients, and ends up learning a whole new way of consulting that is simpler, more genuine, and more rewarding to both consultant and client than what he learned in school and working with a "real" firm.

I won't give away the whole book, but the key to "Getting Naked" is one word: vulnerability. A consultant has to be willing to be vulnerable with a client, as opposed to believing s/he has to descend from on high with revealed wisdom to impart. We consultants aren't better or more informed than our clients (usually <g>), but our expertise, experience, and perspective blends with the client's own knowledge to allow us to partner in an effort to be successful - together.

I've been a consultant to nonprofits for twenty years, and I'd like to say that my practice embodies many of Lencioni's principles and practices. However, I also found myself cringing in a couple of places as I realizsed that I could improve my own practice to meet goals and principles I already believe but had wavered a little in application.

One such area is the willingness to give guidance away while building rapport with a client. A few clients will steal your ideas and try to implement them without you, but most will respect your value and want you to help them achieve results. As for the few, it's better to see their true colors early and be ready to walk away from such transactional and superficial client relationships.

My partner and I often say, when speaking of our own practice, we have never regretted refusing a client engagement, but we have occasionally regretted taking one on. In other words, it's better for both one's peace of mind and one's livelihood if you're willing to walk away from some paying work, when that work (or the client) doesn't fit your firm's mission and priorities.

"Getting Naked" is a great companion to two of my favorite books on the business of consulting, "Million Dollar Consulting" by Alan Weiss and "Flawless Consulting" by Peter Block. Consultants serve both themselves and their clients best when they focus on maximizing value rather than fees, when the client relationship involves partnership rather than selling, and when both the client and consultant are working toward a mutually identified goal or goals. Of course, focusing on delivering value for clients who appreciate it results in better consulting and higher fees, which is good for consultants!

The Ride of a Lifetime: Doing Business the Orange County Choppers Way
The Ride of a Lifetime: Doing Business the Orange County Choppers Way
by Mark Yost
Edition: Hardcover
95 used & new from $0.01

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, quick read with a great story to tell, March 30, 2009
I first learned about Paul Teutel, his family, and his business several years ago through my son's fascination with everything motorized and "cool." We wached the reality TV series "American Chopper" together. My son liked the bikes and the characters, and I liked the characters and the bikes (some a lot more than others).

For the uininitiated, Orange County Choppers is a behemoth of a brand built by a unique man who has worked for himself almost his entire adult life. In fact, his biography is so fascinating that I found myself wishing to read more about him and his family; I had to remind myself that this book is a business philosophy book, not a biography.

Mr. Teutel credits his mega-success to relentless hard work and a passion for perfection. Most of his business principles are as well-known and as they are difficult to live by daily. Surround yourself with good people and reward them well, treat everyone with integrity, and embrace change while adhering to core values. The book is peppered with vignettes fo business decisions made, partners acquired and replaced, and descriptions fo situatinos that illustrate the points well. The book also includes a set of glossy photos of Teutel history and motorcycles.

Teutel posits that "everyone" expecte dhim to end up dead or in jail from an early age. His childhood in a very dysfunctional family included an addiction to alcohol and drugs at the age of 15 than lasted 20 years. His father and grandfather demanded relentless labor from young Paul. His father demanded, and Teutel paid, rent to his family during his adolescence. Merchant marine boot camp (at age 18) gave him his first opportunity to set a goal and achieve it.

Goal-orientedness coupled with hard work is a powerful combination which Teutel weakened with alcohol and drugs until he was 35. He credits Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) with helping him achieve abstinence from drugs and alcohol for 24 years.. Demanding sobriety of hs partners and employees changed his iron works business and positioned it for growth. He turned over the iron works business and set to building motorcycles as a hobby in the early 1990s.

Ultimately, he invested his $120,000 retirement in the business that became Orange County Choppers (OCC). OCC is now an international brand operated from a 100,000+ square foot headquarters in suburban New York.

Teutel is ambivalent about his family's involvement in his business. One son took over the iron works and is apparently doing well. Two sons, Paul, Jr. and Michael, work with Dad at OCC. "American Chopper" viewers know the stormy relationship they have. While Dad always wanted his business to be a family business, he observes that things come too easily to Paul, Jr., making him casual if not lazy about deadlines and organization. "Mikey" is a lovable youngest brother with multiple interests and a good sense of humor but little ambition. Dad says that family businesses are the backbone of the economy, but that family can't be managed in the workplace like other employees, and that hurts the family members. He acknowledges the connundrum and apparently sees it as one of the few design problems he was unable to resolve.

One of the book's key messages is that it's never too late to resolve to be better - to become focused, passionate, and goal-oriented to pursue success. now-teenage son might read this book before a lot of other self-help/business success books. That's a good thing.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 2, 2009 9:00 AM PDT

Fiscal Sponsorship: 6 Ways to Do It Right
Fiscal Sponsorship: 6 Ways to Do It Right
by Gregory L. Colvin
Edition: Paperback
Price: $19.95
38 used & new from $15.84

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Reference for Nonprofit Sponsors, March 30, 2006
Many individuals and groups wish to pursue a nonprofit mission, but lack the organizational infrastructure to establish or maintain a nonprofit corporation. Fiscal Sponsorship is a good primer for established nonprofit organizations that might provide this support.

Mr. Colvin originally wrote this book in 1993 to present ethical and legal alternatives to the concept of "fiscal agency." Some nonprofits asked to be "fiscal agents" were being used as conduits or pass-through agencies for individuals or groups to receive tax-deductible contributions to fund activities that were of questionable public benefit. As a result, the terms "fiscal agency" and "fiscal agent," as applied to nonprofits, have become suspect. "Fiscal sponsorship" is the preferred term for proper arrangements between nonprofits and those seeking the benefits of nonprofit incorporation for public benefit purposes.

The book outlines three scenarios: two artists seeking charitable support for their artistic production and teaching activities; a church with an AIDS hospice program that has outgrown the church's capacity to manage it effectively; and a US environmental group with significant lobbying activities seeking to purchase Brazilian rainforest to protect it from development. Each scenario is then applied to six fiscal sponsorship models in ascending order of independence and autonomy. A handy two-page reference chart compares and contrasts the six models, supplementing the book's narrative. A seventh model, derived from a 1990 US Supreme Court decision, specific to Mormon (LDS Church) parents providing tax-deductible support for their children's mission activities, is explored but noted to be as yet untested.

My own ethical antennae were alerted when the AIDS hospice scenario included a desire by friends and relatives to make tax-deductible gifts to support a specific patient's medication needs. I would have been more comfortable had Mr. Colvin handled this potentially dangerous issue more regularly and consistently throughout the book's application of each sponsorship model to the scenarios. He alludes to the IRS requirement for a tax-deductible gift to benefit an indefinite, open-ended "charitable class" when discussing a preapproved grantor-grantee relationship, but doesn't address the issue equally well when discussing the other five models.

A web site, [...] has been set up in conjunction with the second edition of the book. Unfortunately, the web site only seeks to sell the book and provides links to two other web sites with sponsorship-related information - far from the promise of posting new developments in fiscal sponsorship.

One should pick up this book with a definite interest in the subject - it's not for the casual reader. Most people and groups in need of fiscal sponsorship will likely not know how to articulate that need, and will be less sophisticated in evaluating the legal and operational considerations. However, representatives of organizations seeking brief, solid advice on options for supporting nonprofit activities of smaller groups and individuals will find it very helpful.

Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream
Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream
by Barbara Ehrenreich
Edition: Hardcover
454 used & new from $0.01

11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing -- A Fumbled Opportunity, November 17, 2005
There's a lot to recommend this book, and a lot in it to condemn. That's a real shame, because I think Ms. Ehrenreich missed a great opportunity to have the reader understand and identify with the white-collar unemployed and those who seek to help and/or fleece them as they desperately seek to re-enter the corporate work force. Instead, she tells a story full of detached amusement and frustration that demonstrates her lack of true engagement in her subject.

In her previous best-seller, "Nickel and Dimed," she posed as a middle-aged working-class woman in jobs such as a Merry Maids cleaning lady and a Wal-Mart employee to depict the struggles of people living on the edge of working-class America. "Bait and Switch" has a similar premise, with her posing as a middle-aged woman tired of freelance PR and event planning seeking full-time employment with a major corporation.

Over almost a year, she visits career coaches, resume polishers, networking events, and job fairs in the Washington, D.C./Virginia and Atlanta metropolitan areas. She encounters a cast of fellow middle-aged unemployed men and women laid off from corporations who are slowly liquidating their assets, losing their pride and self-respect, and resorting to support from aged parents and "survival jobs" like entry-level retail sales that further sap their depleted strength for professional job searching.

She finds it ironic that unemployment/job-seeking is regularly counseled to be full-time employment, complete with schedules, deadlines, supervision, and even wardrobes closely mirroring those of the employed corporate world. There is tragedy in the fact that many of the coaches and support group leaders she encounters are themselves unemployed and little better off than those they seek to help. She is offended and baffled that executive recruitment and placement is dependent on personality and "fit" far more than upon skills and experience, and nonplussed by efforts to have her identify her personality style, improve her wardrobe and appearance, polish her resume, and otherwise work on things she considers extraneous to job qualifications. [Of course, in a market where supply of skills and experience exceeds demand, intangibles like "fit" will often tip the scale between similarly qualified applicants.]

Ehrenreich's lack of knowledge and lack of experience (she has never worked for a for-profit corporation and has never been a PR professional, either consulting or on staff) seriously hampers her ability to report on her experiences in an identifiable way. She also shows a real lack of ability to see the world through the eyes of those with whom she apparently disagrees. This lack of empathy further inhibits her understanding.

She admits that, had she really been a PR professional looking for work, she would have had the potential of tapping into a network of colleagues and clients who could speak first-hand of her talents, accomplishments, and expertise. She does make occasional reference to the advice she received that one shouldn't be networking with other unemployed people, but she seems to have done precious little with that advice. I was also astounded that she took so long to figure out that she should join and become active in PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) if she wanted to be a PR person! <g>.

More importantly, had she been "for real," she would have possessed the most valuable asset a consultant has -- their body of work. Her resume, elevator speeches, and cover letters would have been peppered with recitations of her accomplishments and the "I did it for them and I can do it for you" approach that would have helped her in her search. her job-search tools would have been less a matter of "creative writing" and much more the real issue of presenting her real self to others in a favorable light. With no corporate experience and no real consulting experience, she was left with an artificial exercise that made her contemptuous of those who might actually believe her created job-search story.

At the end, she finds no hope for the mid-career corporate job-seeker, and says their time would be better spent advocating for universal health insurance (she mentions no specific model or plan) than looking to re-enter a corporate world where employees seem to spend a lot of their time, as she sees it, worrying about being laid off. There were no success stories in her world and no opportunity for positive individual growth or change.

The frustrating part of "Bait and Switch" is that she may be right in many of her observations of white-collar unemployed life, but her approach, which largely involved doing almost everything she could to put herself at a disadvantage before she started, causes her results to come into serious question as representative of the white-collar world as a whole.

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